For Easter Sunday, we went west to check out Lovers Leap. The area is just in the process of budding, running a little behind the vegetation at lower elevations. It is essentially a wide space in the road, intentionally set up so that passersby can stop their cars and take in the tremendous view of the valley below.
There is a trail head by a huge boulder covered in colorful graffiti. The trail is steep and scraggly.
The view near the trail head is partially obstructed by trees.
There is another viewing area just a little further west, maybe a hundred feet.
This is where some of the best pictures are taken. The naked eye can make out vineyards and homes in the valley below.
Up the road another short way, there is a hilltop dawn to dusk campsite.
(UPDATE 8/3/2014: The campsite is Fred Clifton Park.)
Be careful pulling out. Traffic traveling west come around a curve just before the viewing area.
The picnic site is outstanding. There are many picturesque picnic tables under the trees, some with grills. Some seem a bit more private while others are more open. A narrow trailhead (good hiking shoes should be required) winds along the rim of the camp and through some picnic sites. There is a man who sells birdhouses just up the road, Lovers Leap Birdhouses, and he cautioned that there are a lot of black bear in the area. It is worth the trip up to see Lovers Leap Birdhouses. We had both expected more of an artsy-fartsy interpretation of decorative birdhouses but those generally are not good for actual use. The birdhouses sold here are designed to be used, having the appropriate size holes to attract specific species and designed for mounting on a standard four-by-four.
The lookouts for the camp are wooden platforms that afford slightly different, completely unobstructed views.
Views from the picnic area let you look back towards the overlook and the hills in which it is nestled.
After enjoying the overlook, we stopped by the town of Stuart on our short trek home. Stuart has one of the most remarkable downtown areas I’ve ever seen. The shots below do not do it justice. There is what looks like a beautiful courthouse with a statue dedicated to Jeb Stuart, a Confederate hero and the namesake for the town and the stretch of Highway 58 that runs through this area.
Since it was Easter Sunday, the only thing open was a Mexican restaurant called El Rancho. We stopped in and thoroughly enjoyed our meal. The restaurant itself is surprisingly large inside and colorfully decorated. The feel is cozy and the food is good.
I recommend the fajita quesadilla. In Texas, quesadillas are almost universally two smaller flour tortillas sandwiching melted cheese and your choice of meat. Here, it is one large flour tortilla put together folded over somewhat like a taco and then grilled.
The town of Stuart just couldn’t be prettier. The houses and buildings you see from the main street winding through town are just as quaint as they can be and all well maintained. It is worth the drive to continue on through Stuart for some sightseeing before returning to the main east-west road here, Highway 58.
Beth Barton is a Virginia-licensed real estate agent with Berry-Elliott Realtors.